Hips Don't Lie

They tell of fall's imminent approach.Walking in Central Park it was a tiny bit sad to see these rose hips and have the realization that summer is indeed slipping away but the consolation would be that they were the most beautiful thing I saw today. Maybe it was the wildy garish combination of bright yellow and red flowers along the path that preceded its view and made its more subtle color palette more appealing. The light was also good just at that moment and from another view the apricot blur you see beyond is in fact a bed of Impatiens in a color range I've never seen before-apricots and buttery yellows.

+ Occasional Oasis:Plein Air

Chaos Reigns

When the Japanese Anenome in the south west bed arrives, chaos reigns. This year with more flower stalks from the bronze fennel the chaos is amplified. The competition has made them both taller, bigger and more prolific. And yet, there is also equilibrium. Somehow even the untidy Golden Rod behind these two adds to the intricate tangle of buds and flowers and stems to create a mood and a picture of a garden in high summer exactly what it should be.

Summer Darks

The Sweet Potato Vine that was looking so good with the Geranium Johnson's Blue in the north east bed is now flowering of its own accord. Small pale pinkish flowers with a dark magenta eye glow in the dark foliage which is now abundent. Over in the north west bed the dark purple leaves of a second one contrasts with the Sedum that's now sending out flowers.

A new dark burgundy in the beds is the herb Perilla. The south east bed was desperately needing more plants in this color family and inspired by seeing this plant used in the Wave Hill garden, I planted a few here. I was hesitant as its practically a weed. I put one plant in a couple of summers ago and now it self seeds everywhere. Instead of weeding them all out, I left one or two and moved a couple of others.

In the south west beds the Weigela and the dark stems of the bronze fennel balance out and complete this collection of late summer darks.

+ Occasional Oasis:Rustic Daydream

The Potting Studio

I posted about the um potted history of this space here, right after Jim had put up the walls. The walls are now going to remain as they are, unpainted- I love the rusticity of this. There's a granite lip that skirts the entire wall- you can see it at the bottom right of the image and the stainless steel sink from the old kitchen has been moved here.

The space has been used by the construction team through the renovation which only recently completed. Last week was the first time I saw this space empty and with this sink installed in it and a train of thought roared through my head. Yes for sure there will the potting of all kinds of plants and all manner of gardening related activities but a new idea was suggested by that sink. I can wash a print screen. Underneath the stairs there's also a closet with a door, which could be a darkroom where the screen is created.

So I'm thinking botanical screen print studio along with the potting. I'm having a fantasy of myself as a latter day William Morris screening prints of Black Barlow and Chinese Lanterns. It could happen. If nothing else the space previously known as the potting shed is certainly somewhere I can entertain a grand idea or two while staring out at the honeysuckle and runner beans.

Plum and Red Burgundy

Thats Plum tomatoes and Red Burgundy Okra - last weeks harvest from the vegetable garden along with other miscellaneous greens and herbs. The okra I planted from seed is really quite a beautiful plant- the lobed, red ribbed leaves that seem to mottle a little with age and the red stems and fruit are gorgeous. The packet says delicious and attractive, I've yet to test the delicious part- they may be a little past their best. The plum tomatoes on the other hand are taste tested and despite the fact that they are better used for cooking I couldn't resist having a couple just cut and salted- bliss.

Looking at Lanterns

Sometimes I do more than just look. Sometimes I'm inspired - I process, analyse, osmose the visual information and use it for something else. An allover autumnal textile print perhaps or maybe a graphic artwork- look at those bold orange heart shapes combined with those teardrop sedum leaf shapes. Or, I just subliminally store the palette- greens, blue greens, teals, purples, oranges, reds and a little yellow. And not just the actual colors- the proportions matter too and so do their placement and juxtapositions with each other. See the purple edges on the blue green leaves and the green veining on the orange lanterns.

I planted these Chinese Lanterns a couple of years ago- here's what they looked like then and then discovered to my dismay that they were potentially invasive. They hardly did anything at all last year- they put out some foliage and I don't even remember seeing any lanterns. This year they are a nice little patch but I'm going to have to keep an eye on them. Meanwhile, I'll just enjoy the view.

Anniversary Hostas

I was wrong about the Judge's Hostas last year. It's not on his wife's birthday that they bloom but on their anniversary. Today. August 15. The photos were taken a couple of days ago when the blooms seemed to be timing their display to the minute.

It was early evening when Heidi and I walked over to take a look at them, the perfect time as the flowers open in the evening and their scent is given an extra boost by the phlox that is also blooming nearby. I did a little research and it looks like these are Hosta Plantaginea also known as August Lily.

The Occasional Propagator

I joined the New York City chapter of the Indoor Gardening Society back in May. I went on a lark just to see what it was all about and found myself intrigued. It was a blur of latin names and descriptions of how many feet things were grown from a north east or south facing window. I've been tight lipped about it because, that evening the theme was propagation- I walked out with a plastic bag with six assorted leaves and stems, and a headful of instructions. I didn't want to say anything just in case I killed them all. I can report now that I didn't.

Well, not all of them. I did step on and crush the Streptocarpella Concord Blue which fell out of the bag without me knowing it. I did kill the Phymatosorus scolopendria, frankly I didn't love it anyway. The one I really wanted which wasn't in my bag was an Euphorbia Milii that someone had brought to show. I told the owner how much I liked it and towards the end, she beckoned me over and placed in my hand a thorny two inch stem with a wink.

The instructions for propagating it were different - let it dry out on a paper towel and then pot it, we were told. I did and entirely forgot about it finding it shrivelled a few days later. What the hell, I'll just stick it in a pot. Miraculously a leaf appeared, and now there are three.

The Plectranthus also lived and so did one other unidentified trailing thing but the Episcia Pink Panther pictured above is positively thriving. Yes I can - propagate. I went back in June for favorite plant night where I lusted over a Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant that had a wonderful scent and a Begonia Bonfire with beautiful red flowers. Meetings resume in September.

Return to Noah's Garden

I went back to visit Noah's Garden the last time I was up in Mamaroneck and got a chance to meet Noah himself. He was hard at work (look at those gardening hands) but took the time to show me around and give me some background to the garden and what he's been up to this summer, not to mention a tip or two on how to keep critters away. Gardening has become a way of life for him, he's been doing it since he was four after all. He's an old gardening soul, wise beyond his years about soil and compost and crop rotation but still enjoys growing sunflowers because he wonders how tall they can get this summer.

Soundtrack: Bright Morning Stars Jon Sayles

Rise Above

Where did the time go? Apologies for the radio silence but I've been lost in a whirlwind of demanding new projects and new circumstances- in particular welcoming home albeit a temporary one, a foster dog with some challenging needs. On one of our walks in Central park I saw this patch of flowers, the tall tall lilies looking a little like how I feel right now - finally, above the deluge of paperwork, vet appointments and work deadlines. I'm ready to pick up where I left off. Thanks for your patience.

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